Graduation day and a pair of lacrosse games

Commentary: This fixture in SU's student section reflects on his days cheering on the Orange.

It was one of the biggest days of my life.

The day I became a graduate of Syracuse University. Like many of my classmates that sat around me on the turf of the Carrier Dome, I had many emotions running through my head. I was excited to start the next chapter of my life, and dreading the debt I was about to walk into.

Adam Betz donned his trusty Syracuse University flag on his graduation day in the Carrier Dome.

But I also had one other thing on my mind.

May 14 would be my last time in the student section at SU athletic events. I would be attending game number 99 and 100 for me on the year. For those of you that do not know me, I am the guy that wore the flag to every SU game for the last two years.

“Flag Man,” “Flag Guy” and the “Super Fan” are all nicknames that I was given during my two years at SU. And while I hated them all, they have become a part of me that I have embraced.

Why would anyone would want to go to 100 college sports events in an academic year? How does a college student find the time to do something like this?

To me, both answers are related. I have loved sports all my life, so much so that I intend on being a sports journalist in my professional life. So watching them never gets old to me.

As for where I found the time? I made sacrifices. I had no problems skipping a party, losing much-needed sleep, or even missing a class or two to go support our athletes. To me, it was a no-brainer: these men and women make far more sacrifices than I do, so I can make a small one to go support them.

My 99th game of the season was the women's lacrosse second round game in the NCAA tournament. The game was pretty uneventful; Syracuse fell behind early and ended up losing 21-10. Obviously, I was sad to see the team lose, but it almost seemed fitting in a way: most of the final games I went to ended up going against the Orange.

A few hours later, the men’s lacrosse team hosted Yale in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. This game was especially meaningful to me, being from Connecticut. I got to the Dome extra early for this game. As “Indian Summer” by Jai Wolf played throughout the Dome, I had a smile on my face. This was after all a building that I had so many memories in. The game played out like most Syracuse men’s lacrosse games had this season; the Orange were down, but they never quit. With just over two minutes to play, Stephen Rehfuss scored to give Syracuse an 11-10 lead. Syracuse ended up with the ball with time winding down. Yale got the ball back. Yale’s goalie threw a pass the full length of the field. The pass was broken up by Syracuse defenders. And then the buzzer sounded. Syracuse had survived the test from Yale. But that buzzer also signified the end of my time in the SU student section.

As I stood there, celebrating the win with those around me, I couldn’t help but notice all the thoughts that were going through my head. I thought about all the memories that I have of attending games during my two years at the school. I thought about all the friends I made both in the student section and with athletes themselves. I thought about all of the people I got to meet from other schools. People like Colton, Kyra, and Alex, all of whom are not only tremendous athletes but great friends. I thought about what my legacy would be at Syracuse University.

Would I be remembered as those that came before me?

I thought about my fellow students. Who would step up next year and take the place of the crew that was graduating? Hopefully, people like the Matts, Jonah, Jeremy, Keith, and Elijah will keep the passion that they have for Syracuse alive. People like Gumby, who not only helped out with ideas to get the crowds hyped, but would also give advice about after school. And lastly, I thought about the athletes. Did they appreciate me as much as I appreciated them? And did they know how grateful I was that I got the opportunity to see them perform seemingly on a nightly basis? I can only hope.

As I sit here writing this, I’m looking at the flag that made me so famous around campus. I can’t help but smile when I think about my time at Syracuse, and how a $20 piece of fabric could turn a kid from a small Connecticut town into such a character. But then again, if it wasn’t for the athletes and the spectators around me, the “Super Fan” wouldn’t have existed.

Thank you, Syracuse University athletics, for the memories, the friends, the pride, and the heart damage. I cannot wait to return next fall, as an alumnus.

Go Orange!

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